As a salon owner, it can be extremely challenging juggling your clients, your business and your staff, this is especially the case if you are running a smaller salon business with fewer employees to delegate other responsibilities to.

In this instalment of our handy salon management guides, we look at the importance of a salon handbook and why you need one for your employees.

What is the purpose of a salon handbook?

Whilst a physical handbook may seem a little archaic in the digital age, it is a fantastic communication tool that will allow you to clearly set out team expectations as well as your business values. A salon handbook can help clarify any grey areas on dress code, mobile phone usage or employee behaviour that will not be tolerated such as bullying or sloppy attendance.  

New starters

A salon handbook is not only a tool for existing staff to refer to, but it also clearly sets out what’s what for new employees. It is imperative that you use your salon handbook within any new employee inductions. We understand that thorough inductions taking place within a busy, bustling salon can be a challenge, and therefore it’s a great idea to give your new employee a copy of the handbook in case anything is accidentally overlooked. This also gives your new employee the chance to query anything they may not understand.

Settling disputes

Did you know that your salon handbook can help resolve any staff disputes and disagreements? Your salon handbook provides guidance for everything from maternity and paternity leave, to your disciplinary process, sick pay and sick leave, as well as holiday entitlement. Often rules and regulations get forgotten or become lost in translation. If your rules are laid out in black and white, nobody can argue with them. From time to time we recommend bringing up a discussion around the handbook in any team meetings – this is a great way to improve and amend it to the values of your salon as it is within that particular time frame.

Related: How to keep a handle on your staff turnover

During our thinking about salon handbooks, we caught up with award winning salon owner and hairdresser of 30 years, Joanne O ‘Neill. Joanne has been a finalist three times for Avant Garde Hairdresser of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards and has been named Best of the Best Avant Garde Hairdresser of the Year at the Irish Hairdressing Magazine Awards numerous times. Joanne is a huge advocate of the salon handbook she says:

“The Salon Handbook is a vital tool in managing my salon. It clearly helps me communicate the culture of my salon and manage my team’s expectations. Tricky topics such as attitudes, behaviour and standards can be outlined and everyone understands what’s required from them. The Salon Handbook lays out clearly the salon procedures and the law and reduces any misunderstanding. So then all the team members are aware of the rules and there shouldn’t be any surprises!”

“Key components within my salon handbook are policies such as holidays, sick leave, sick pay, hours of work, dress code, maternity leave and disciplinary procedures are all written down. When queries arise my employees and I can fall back on the salon handbook. It clearly describes what I expect from them and what they can expect from me. It keeps everything civil as no-one can say they didn’t know what was expected from them.”

Don’t neglect your salon handbook…

Be sure to review your salon handbook regularly in order to keep up with changes in the law, regulation and the evolution of your salon business. Perhaps you have yet to create your own salon handbook but have been inspired by this article? We recommend heading over to the The National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF) where membership offers you free access to the Federation’s staff handbook written especially for hair & beauty salons and spas.

Do you have a handbook in your salon?

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